Katharina Lierzer

katharina10Name: Katharina Lierzer
Location: Graz/Austria and worldwide
Role with World Unite!: Communication, Administration
Nationality: Austrian
Languages: German, English, Spanish
Katharina is from Graz. Since 2015, she has been working in communications with and preparation of participants. Katharina holds a Masters Degree in Social Education and European Ethnology.
Prior to working with World Unite!, she worked in Austria in adult education and as a university teaching assistant.
What is your role at World Unite!?
My work is very varied: I help our participants to find the ideal placement for their stay abroad, and I provide cultural information about their host countries to prepare them for their travels from an intercultural point of view. Furthermore, I handle formalities with the partner projects in our host countries, and I work on the development of new World Unite! programs and project destinations. In addition, together with my colleagues, I look after our social media channels, blogs and the contents of our website.
What did you do before starting your work at World Unite!?
I used to work as a study assistant at the Institute for Cultural Anthropology at the University of Graz and wrote articles for an online magazine in adult education. During my studies, I completed study trips and internships abroad. Also I took part in a social project with World Unite! in Moshi, Tanzania and a one-year study exchange in Guadalajara, Mexico.
What do you enjoy the most about working at World Unite!?
I truly enjoy communicating with our participants and planning their placements abroad for them and to make sure they travel to our host countries well (culturally) prepared. The idea of ​​being able to contribute to more (inter-) cultural exchange and understanding through my work drives me. I am very grateful for being able to learn about the various factors that contribute to successful communication beyond our own cultural boundaries in our fantastic multicultural team and with our local partners on a daily basis. I especially like the fact that when working with different cultures, there is always something new to learn!
What place at the World Unite! destinations do you find most enjoyable to spend your leisure time at?
As a member of the International World Unite! Team, I have the wonderful opportunity to regularly travel to different host countries. My top 3 locations for spending my leisure time in our host countries are:
* A sunshine picnic at Kirstenbosch Gardens in Cape Town - fascinating biodiversity in front of the dramatic backdrop of Table Mountain!
* Watching the colorful hustle and bustle of the souks while reading a good book from the rooftop terrace of a Moroccan coffee house.
* A boat ride through the floating gardens and villages of Inle Lake in Myanmar and a visit to the forgotten pagodas of India - a truly unique experience for me!
What is your favourite local food and where do you find it?
As a vegetarian, I love being in India, where only very little meat is eaten because of the Hindu culture and way of life. I especially like the North Indian cuisine, including Dal (lentils), Paneer (cream cheese) and various curries. India is a vegetarian experience!
What should participants coming to the World Unite! desintations make sure not to miss?
* Watching the sunset at Signal Hill over Cape Town - the scenery is just gorgeous!
* Getting lost in the maze of narrow streets and alleys of Stone Town in Zanzibar - almost inevitable and incredibly beautiful - go with the flow!
* Crossing the street at Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo during peak hour - that's what it must feel like in an anthill!
Do you have any hobbies or special interests, and where can you do your hobbies?
I practice yoga regularly and always carry my mat with me when traveling! Often, there are exciting locations for practicing yoga when you travel, e.g. the rooftop terrace of our share-house with a view over Tokyo :)
What were the most memorable experience you made with a World Unite! participant?
Dozens! For me, the best part is when participants go through cultural learning processes and I am allowed to be part of the moment, when, after initial difficulties of adjustment, they suddenly learn to see through the cultural perspective of their host country. That’s one of the best parts of my job.
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